Charlie Plowden welcomed and introduced Rachel Fowler, from Strategic Leisure. Charlie Plowden and Rachel Fowler presented their report, highlighting the following points:
· The contract had been let for the Leisure and Built Facility Strategy. The work was underway and on track for the timeline that the Forum had set for itself, following the diagnostic work.
· Strategic Leisure had started a series of site audits on all existing indoor leisure facilities across East Devon, and all-weather pitches. The audits would be finished this week and would give an understanding of the quality of facilities.
· There were all-weather pitches in the joint use centres. Strategic Leisure’s assessment and analysis of these would be shared with planning colleagues at East Devon DC so that they could reflect that detail in the Playing Pitch Strategy.
· Strategic Leisure had pulled together a list of stakeholders and would set up meetings with them.
· Surveys were drafted and had started to go out to schools, clubs and parish and town councils. Strategic Leisure had also started speaking to the national governing bodies and consultants who were doing the planning work at Cranbrook, to ensure they could link into that work. Additionally, a meeting would be set up imminently with Active Devon.
· Strategic Leisure would be looking to do some workshops with members as soon as possible to gather their views on vision and objectives on the strategy and what they saw as the local priorities.
Discussion of the report included:
· In response to a question about whether climate change considerations were being factored into the work being undertaken on existing built facilities, Rachel Fowler confirmed that the climate change agenda would be taken into account. Strategic Leisure were not doing intrusive surveys as part of the audit but would inform members of the benefits of green energy and newer technology when looking at an aging facility that was having a higher impact on the environment, if the supply and demand analysis showed that there was a case for investment or change in what was being provided.
· In response to a question about timescales for commissioning a national Facility Planning Model (FPM) run for swimming pools and sports halls, Rachel Fowler stated that a bespoke FPM run would take approximately 3 months and the national FPM run would be carried out next year based on 2021 data. She added that there was no FPM run carried out for 2020, due to the pandemic.
· It was clarified that the audit involved a qualitative assessment of each facility in East Devon including what facilities there were, their age and condition, whether they were well signposted, accessibility via public transport, and car parking arrangements. The assessments would be presented in an appendix to the report.
· Responding to a question about the involvement of the Planning Policy team in the relationship between the Playing Pitch Strategy and the Leisure and Built Facilities Strategy, the Planning Policy Manager stated that the previous strategy was done by the Planning Policy team, through discussion with Sport England, and this was being rolled forward. Representation was received from Sport England about the need for a Playing Pitch Strategy to support the local plan. It was a piece of work that was owned across the council but the Planning Policy team was taking the lead since it was critical for planning policy work. Sport England had expressed that they were happy with the previous Playing Pitch Strategy. Technical assessment of pitches was a challenge and the council might need to buy in some professional support in this respect. A further challenge was around getting partnership involvement to implement schemes and initiatives, to carry them forward.
RECOMMENDED to Cabinet:
To approve the Scope of Work for producing the Leisure Strategy and Built Facilities Evidence Base as set out in the report to the LED Monitoring Forum on 23 November 2021.